RE: YEMEN

I only knew what home meant when I left
Home within home
Sand, sunflowers, mountains
Going abroad and coming back
Home isn't home without it
People make me proud
Heritage is holy
Culture is everywhere
Stability
An envy
In one spirit

 

Note: this was translated from arabic, by shaima. the original words were by her mother, when asked about her hometown

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TEXT: SHAIMA ALSSLALI

HEY MARIA

The loneliness of living dawns on me occasionally. It’s a massive dark shadow that lingers among failing lungs. It’s a trembling emptiness that envelops my limbs. It’s a truth that stands shaky, naked and wet, before me, while I hide under the sheets. 

No one wants to give you anything that matters. No one really cares about the tides of your stupid happiness. You’re reduced to a selfish little girl who is too afraid of the world — too afraid of its men. All they want to do is touch you, they want to taste you, they want to ultimately break you. They don’t want your big dusty fears. They don’t want your emptiness and tears. They damn sure don’t want you to shed your spiritual skin for them. All you need are your trembling knees and a mouth that tastes of fruity scum. You need every one of your 50 hundred eyelashes and 10 painted nails and those fucking dim eyes of yours. Just make sure your skin is milk and your dress is pretty. You’ll be fine if you show them your big teeth and rested brow.

Satisfaction is a marketing ploy, forget it. Love, happiness, people that care, they’re all bullshit and fiction. You’re better off good and pure and miserable. Just don’t bother people, don’t bother the streets and concrete. They don’t want to hear your ancient rambling and your silly trains of nausea-infused nonsense. Bruise your face with a smile and fill that busy head of yours with small talk and sweet prose.

You’re fine now. You’re so very fine.

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TEXT: AMNA

TO FADE

human beings are tightly programed to see and detect faces
they've seen faces everywhere, on skirts, on lamp posts
on the kitchen sink
they have especially seen the face of jesus christ
a couple of times
he was crying
and people think its a miracle
there is nothing miraculous about a man crying.
human beings, however, are equally talented at absolutely dismissing faces.
I'm so tired i could hardly breath. the festering air in this room pressing against my chest.
I'm so lonesome I could drown instantaneously, and it would be a blessing.
it is the sort of thing that is so terribly unimportant it swells gradually into
something utterly overwhelming you cant even react to it
it was not an event there was no catastrophe
only the state of things

my favorite poet did not kill himself
he only grew old in a city only miles away from his wife and daughter
whom he hadn't seen in a quarter of a century
they did not seem to really mind
the extended electric neurons inhabiting his scull
neurons that nourish on verse and meter
had slowly auto-digested the part of his brain responsible for detecting certain faces
in his 74 year old brain his dark eyed wife looked like
a burned blur
I for one
have run out of ways to handle the corners of this box I'm carrying
always carrying through the desert through the cafes through the family gatherings
at one point I dug in it
at another I wrapped it with floral white paper
I kept it in the back of my closet and heard it whisper to me whisper my name recite my poetry
and kept the closet locked.

I think I am going to eat a little and write a little
and grow patch of lilies in my backyard
magnolia too
pretend, wash out the parts that know I
was propelled from my mothers womb to instantly fade
or better yet
to wish to fade

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TEXT: ABBY JAY